White Supremacist Propaganda On Campus Increased By 258% Last Year. This Is How Experts Plan To Fight Back.

By Amy Crawford

The flyers first began popping up around Auburn University in April, around the time notorious white nationalist Richard Spencer visited the Alabama campus to give a well-attended speech about how white people are losing a “demographic struggle.”

“They were all over campus,” says Beth McDaniel, a fifth-year doctoral student who serves as president of Auburn’s Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) on Campus chapter.

It was already a tense time at Auburn, which had lost a court battle after it attempted to prevent Spencer’s visit based on safety concerns. In a statement informing students, staff and faculty of the court’s decision, the provost’s office had declared, “Whether it’s offensive rhetoric, offensive flyers around campus, or inappropriate remarks on social media, we will not allow the efforts of individuals or groups to undermine Auburn’s core values of inclusion and diversity and challenge the ideals personified by the Auburn Creed.”

The notices were advertising something called the White Student Union, an unsanctioned group—with a website making it look sanctioned by the university—that seemed to position itself in opposition to official university clubs like the Black Student Union. While the leafleteers have been careful not to reveal their identities, the self-described president identified himself as a current student when he was interviewed anonymously by a British journalist last year.

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A photo of one of the flyers found on the campus of Auburn University. Photo courtesy of SPLC on Campus.

“They’re using the Auburn University name, and they say that they are there to represent the needs of white Auburn students and faculty,” says McDaniel. Noting that the same British journalist interviewed members of the Auburn community who openly expressed support for the concept, she worries that a certain segment of the school’s student body—those who are disengaged politically and unlikely to think through the full implications of pitting white people against other groups—may be vulnerable to this propaganda.

“Like past white student unions, the Auburn White Student Union couches its mission statement in the language of love and egalitarianism. In reality, the organization promotes a false narrative about the forced replacement of white people and advocates for a white ethnostate,” explains Keegan Hankes, a senior research analyst at the SPLC. “The group’s ‘Pro-White Resources’ [website] page promotes white nationalist organizations such as American Renaissance, a ‘think-tank’ that’s primary mission is to publicize false statistics about black criminality and white victimhood.”

The Auburn community is not alone in facing threats of this kind. A study released this month by the Anti-Defamation League found that white supremacist propaganda at colleges across the United States increased by 258 percent between fall 2016 and fall 2017, with more than 200 campuses affected. And while the evidence often suggests that outside groups are responsible, advocates for tolerance and inclusion worry that white students across the nation’s campuses may be open to the messaging—and even to recruitment. It’s a danger that, according to Lecia Brooks, the SPLC’s Outreach Director, demands a new strategy from campus administrators who focus on diversity and inclusion: reaching out directly to disengaged white students in order to inoculate them against hate.

Brooks spends most of the year crisscrossing the country, visiting colleges and universities to speak on issues of social justice and working to support the network of SPLC on Campus clubs that has been taking on intolerance since 2015. Recently, she has added a new message to her talks.

“This really started with Milo Yiannopoulos’s speaking engagements in Berkeley,” Brooks says, referring to clashes between fans of the alt-right provocateur and antifascist protesters in February 2017. “I was just offended. He was playing these young white men like a fiddle. They so enjoyed having a group and having some kind of presence and getting some kind of celebrity, and they’re vulnerable to these white nationalists’ messages about so-called ‘white genocide’ or ‘nobody cares about you.’ I realized, ‘Wow, we need to deliver the message to them that we care about them too.’ We can’t let them just fall prey to these liars.”

The responsibility, Brooks says, lies primarily with administrators who focus on diversity and inclusion—a specialty that has spread across campuses in recent years. It would be unfair to ask students of color, who are already burdened with more emotional labor than their more privileged peers, to do the work of reaching out to the sort of young white men who may be open to messages from the alt-right, she cautions. Still, it’s also important that diversity and inclusion offices not focus their work solely on supporting marginalized communities.

“I’ve been doing community-building work for a really long time,” Brooks says. “Anyone doing community-building should know that you really have to be intentional about bringing everybody in.”

That means, according to Brooks, in addition to fostering dialogue, administrators need to recruit adult mentors—white faculty and staff who understand the dynamics of racial oppression and power and privilege and can lead groups that talk about what it means to be white—and why it doesn’t have to mean embracing racism and rejecting diversity.

Bringing more white students “to the table” is something that has preoccupied Jabrina Robinson, dean of students at Siena College in upstate New York, ever since Brooks visited to give a talk and meet with administrators this past fall.

“We’ve noticed, over time, you often have the same groups coming to the table, and it’s kind of a preaching-to-the-choir type of audience,” Robinson says. “So we’re really looking at how we can better engage students who have not traditionally been as actively engaged in the conversation of diversity and inclusion—specifically, our white male students…. I think sometimes white males feel like conversations around diversity and inclusion are more about blaming. So how do we not do that, how do we really make everybody comfortable and willing to engage in the conversation so we can all grow?”

While Siena has not seen the same racially-charged incidents that have plagued other schools, Robinson knows that no college campus is immune to attracting the attention of white supremacists. Siena’s first step in counteracting their message will be to organize focus groups of white students to help administrators better understand how to bring them into the fold.

“We want to target students who traditionally don’t come or aren’t as actively engaged in these conversations,” she says. “Besides extra credit, what would attract you to conversations on these issues and what would engage you? Do you feel alienated if you see a poster that says, ‘Let’s talk about race,’ do you feel like you’re not actually supposed to come to this conversation? Do you feel that you’re not truly invited?”

Robinson’s goal is to complete the focus groups this semester. Once the results are compiled and analyzed, she says, it will help the college decide how to modify its diversity programming to include more of the student body.

“I think we’re doing things pretty well here,” she says. “But how can we do it better, and reach more people?”

Back at Auburn, the White Student Union retains its unofficial status—according to Haven Hart, the university’s assistant vice president for student development, it has never submitted any documents to become a recognized student organization. Still, an unknown number of members continue to post on the group’s blog and on social media—including with frequent retweets of messages from the white nationalist group Identity Europa.

Beth McDaniel is hopeful, however, that fostering dialogue with white students could help counteract the White Student Union’s propaganda. Through talks with administrators and SPLC on Campus programming, she wants to reach students where they are, rather than expecting them to take the initiative to get involved with diversity and inclusion efforts. That could mean getting professors or Greek organizations involved, visiting classrooms or asking white students to start hard conversations with their family, friends, classmates and dorm neighbors.

“It’s sometimes hard to go into these situations, because emotions are high on both sides,” she says. “But we need to be willing to actually try to help educate these students and realize that they’re not bad people. Many Auburn students come from white, middle- or upper-class communities that are very segregated—our society’s set up that way, and I think that a lot of students just don’t consider the experiences of other people and then fear any difference. But they’re a product of their environment, and people can change.”

Editor’s Note: This article was produced in partnership with the SPLC.  


Amy Crawford is a freelance writer living in Michigan. Follow her on Twitter: @amymcrawf.

Cover photo by Hannah Busing on Unsplash. 

Copyright © 500 Pens. February 2018.


10 Organizations That Made 2017 Better

By Meghan Guidry

As 2017 draws to a close, we’re taking a moment to highlight some of the incredible organizations whose works have been beacons this year. Whether local, national, or global, these 10 organizations address some of today’s most complex and challenging issues while striving to make the world a more just, equitable, and compassionate place:

1.    College is a crucial gateway to a more stable and prosperous future. However, for students from vulnerable communities and marginalized backgrounds, college is often out of reach financially. Compounding this barrier is the fact that for many students, particularly first-generation students, applying to and navigating college is difficult without the support of peers and family who have shared the experience. The Posse Foundation helps promising students from nontraditional backgrounds succeed in college. By providing full financial support and by creating small cohorts of other scholarship winners called “posses” that all attend the same school, the foundation creates supportive communities of learners to help each other succeed in college and beyond.

2. In 2002, Vermont chef Sheri Sullivan became a hospice volunteer. During this time, she began to notice that as her clients neared the end of life, and as their family caregivers struggled to manage the day-to-day tasks associated with caring for the dying, entire households often went without one of the most basic comforts: a warm, filling meal. Using her network to organize local chefs, restaurants, and delivery drivers, Sheri founded Dinners with Love, a nonprofit dedicated to delivering warm, filling meals to hospice patients and their caregivers at home. Through this work, Dinners with Love can bring beloved home-cooked comfort foods prepared by community chefs and favorite restaurant dishes directly to those who need them most — helping to maintain comfort, dignity, and community during this difficult time.

3. In the wake of #metoo, it may seem like public discourse around sexual assault is having a watershed moment. However, for incarcerated individuals, rape and sexual assault is a real and daily risk, with few to no pathways for victims to seek justice, medical treatment, and emotional support. For nearly 40 years, Just Detention International (JDI) has been dedicated to ending prison rape. Through public advocacy, community education, and survivor support, JDI works to ensure the dignity of all incarcerated people by dismantling the structures and attitudes that contribute to sexual violence. As a special holiday initiative, JDI collects messages of hope written by people from all over the world for incarcerated survivors. Because many prisoners who report assault are placed in solitary confinement or otherwise punished, these messages create a lifeline for those who are suffering, bringing words of hope, humanity, and compassion to those who need them most.

4. Human trafficking is a global crisis, affecting millions of the world’s most vulnerable individuals. HEAL Trafficking envisions a world completely free from and healed of human trafficking, where every single person has the opportunity to thrive and reach their full potential. To make this vision a reality, HEAL treats human trafficking as a public health issue. By providing screening toolkits for physicians, HEAL aims to give all doctors, nurses, and other caregivers the skills necessary to help identify victims of human trafficking in emergency rooms and urgent care centers, and safely remove them from harm.

5. Founded in 1971 by civil rights lawyers Morris Dees and Joseph Levin Jr., the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) is dedicated to fighting hatred and bigotry to create a world where equity and justice are available to all. To advance this vision, SPLC engages in several forms of advocacy, legal aid, and education. Notably, the organization draws upon the legal acumen of its founders to challenge unjust policies targeting and disproportionately affecting vulnerable communities. They also support other crucial initiatives including the Intelligence Project, which monitors and exposes the activities of known hate groups and domestic extremists and the Teaching Tolerance program which provides free resources for educators to infuse teachings on equity, anti-bias, and tolerance into their classrooms.

6. Regardless of what career path students envision themselves pursuing, strong writing and communication skills will be crucial to their success. However, for many students, access to engaging and exciting practices that develop and reinforce these vital skills is difficult or nonexistent. In response to these gaps, writer David Eggers and renowned educator Ninive Calegari founded 826 — a community-based creative writing and tutoring center in Valencia, California designed to help students 6 to 18 years old improve their writing skills and explore their creativity. Since its founding in 2002, 826 has grown into a nationwide network of centers that offers tutoring, in-school programs, workshops, field trips, and young authors support at no cost to help students build the skills they need to be creative and successful in school and beyond.

7. As a child, Sara Minkara lost her sight. This experience led her to dedicate her life to empowering disabled youth throughout the Middle East and North Africa while working to reduce stigmas surrounding disabilities. In 2009, she founded Empowerment Through Integration (ETI) to advance this mission and hosted a one-month summer camp for 39 visually impaired children in Lebanon. Since then, ETI has flourished, offering mentoring for disabled youth and culturally sensitive community-based education efforts to challenge biases against people with disabilities and create pathways for full social integration and holistic community-building.

8. The year-end holidays can be a challenging and stressful time for myriad reasons. However, for incarcerated mothers and their children, this time of the year can be especially difficult. Because these mothers are often the primary or only caregivers, their imprisonment often leaves their children in tenuous and informal living situations where they are not guaranteed to receive the compassionate care that all children deserve. To help bring joy and happiness to both incarcerated mothers and their children, Moms United Against Violence and Incarceration; Chicago Legal Advocacy for Incarcerated Moms; Nehemiah Trinity Rising, Lifted Voices, and Love Project;, and; Chicago League of Abolitionist Whites created a joint Amazon wishlist filled with toys that anyone can purchase. The toys are then shipped directly to the correctional facilities, where mothers wrap the gifts and add personal notes and touches for their children. This process helps affirm these deep family bonds and provides a special moment of connection during the holidays. (h/t Bustle)

9. While the idea of racism can evoke images of interpersonal prejudice and violence, systemic forces spanning business, education, governmental, medical, and economic institutions continue to drive and reinforce barriers for people of color. Color of Change, the largest online racial justice organization in the United States, is committed to dismantling the power structures that disproportionately affect people of color and reforming systems to create a more equitable world. Color of Change designs and spearheads campaigns that aim to restore justice and increase representation of people of color in diverse public spheres.

10. For people facing the daily hardships of extreme poverty and homelessness, compassionate and dignified healthcare is too often out of reach. In 1999, Dr. Roseanna Means founded Healthcare Without Walls, a Boston-based nonprofit dedicated to providing compassionate and respectful care to women and children facing homelessness. Dr. Means emphasizes trust-building, conversation, and collaboration as key tenets of treating each and every patient seen by the organization. By creating a program designed to provide optimal health by taking into account all aspects of a patient’s life, Healthcare Without Walls delivers whole-person care designed to promote optimal health while enhancing the dignity of each and every client they serve.


Meghan Guidry is a poet, novelist, essayist, science writer, and librettist from Boston,  Massachusetts. She holds an MFA in Creative Writing from Goddard College and a Masters of Divinity from Harvard Divinity School, where she studied bioethics, medical anthropology, and political philosophy. Her work explores themes of bodies and boundaries, with a particular focus on the intersections of myth, memory, and medicine. Her work has appeared in The Pitkin Review, The Wick Journal, Applied Sentience, The Harvard Divinity Bulletin, and others. Her first novel Light and Skin was published by Empty City Press in 2010, and her second book Kinesiophobia is scheduled for release in 2017. Meghan is also a working librettist, and has collaborated with composers on several original pieces, including Roots and Wings (c. Oliver Caplan), which was performed by the Handel Society of Dartmouth College. She wrote libretto for The Little Blue One (c. Dominick DiOrio), a new opera performed by Juventas New Music Ensemble in 2014. She is currently working on Tarography, an experimental interactive poem, and a nonfiction book about grief and mourning in contemporary America.

Photo by Massimiliano Reginato via Unsplash.

Copyright © 500 Pens. December 2017.

A Primer On Responding To Hate In Your Backyard

By Steve Tanner 

By arming ourselves with a solid understanding of best practices, we can all be ready to respond properly — and safely — when acts of hate unfold before our eyes. Every situation is unique, but the following list is meant to serve as a guide for how to best respond to acts of hatred and bigotry:

1. Draw Attention Away From Hateful Protests and Demonstrations
Whether it’s a Ku Klux Klan rally down main street or an anti-immigrant protest at a public park, the best response is to draw attention away from the event by creating an alternative, as noted in the Southern Poverty Law Center’s (SPLC’s) Ten Ways to Fight Hate: Community Response Guide. Sure, the natural response is to attend the rally and stage a counter-protest, but such confrontations tend to serve the perpetrators (in this case, the bigoted demonstrators) and often lead to violence.

Instead, the SPLC advocates that “every act of hatred should be met with an act of love and unity.” Specifically, this could take the form of an alternative event — held at the same time as the hate-based event but in a different area — emphasizing the strength of the community in all its diversity.

For example, once when the Klan came to Indianapolis for a rally, museums and other local attractions provided free admission to city residents; a youth rally was held by community leaders in a ballroom; and a coalition of community leaders took out a full-page newspaper ad deploring the Klan and what they stand for. Similarly, a Klan rally in Pulaski, Tenn. (the birthplace of the KKK) prompted local businesses to close down, which meant there were no restaurants or even public restrooms for the Klan marchers.  

2. Do Not Engage with the Attackers
People who show disregard or outright hatred for Muslims, African Americans, Jews, LGBTQ individuals, immigrants, or members of other minority groups cannot be expected to act rationally. This means confronting or arguing with such individuals likely will not help the situation, but could actually pour gasoline on the fire.

“People attacking and using hate speech are acting on high emotions; the antidote isn’t trying to reason with them or throw facts at them,” explains Amy Cox, Director of the International Peace and Conflict Resolution master’s program at Arcadia University in Philadelphia. “Bad situations become worse when individuals try to directly address the attacker.”

So if confronting the attacker is the wrong approach in most situations, then what can you do when hate rears its ugly head? Generally, we want to protect the person being attacked.

3. Focus on Protecting the Attacked Person
If it’s a random person on a train, the sidewalk, a restaurant, or some other public place, the key is to help the person being targeted to feel safe and protected or to physically create a safe space for them, Cox explains. She acknowledges that our knee-jerk reaction is often to try and “talk down” the perpetrator, but stresses that helping the person being attacked is almost always the safest and more effective approach. She offers the following guidelines:

  • Engage the attacked person in a conversation about something random (such as the weather) just to interrupt the hateful act.
  • Gently step between the attacker and the attacked person, engaging the attacked person with simple conversation or even just a smile.
  • Give the attacked person a safe place to move toward, such as a seat in a different area of the bus or a spot where they would feel more secure.
  • Act as if you know the person being attacked and pull them away from the unpleasant situation.

This strategy also is explained through a series of illustrations titled “What to do if you are witnessing Islamophobic harassment” by an artist named Maeril. In the illustrated guide, all of the focus is on creating a safe space for the attacked individual (depicted as a woman in a hijab), while the attacker is simply ignored.      

4. Alert the Police and Other Authorities When Appropriate
Speak up and contact the authorities if you witness an act of bigoted hostility or harassment, according to attorney and outspoken LGBTQ rights advocate Gina Scialabba, who regularly interacted with police while working as a deputy San Mateo district attorney.

If you witness (or are the victim of) a hate crime, be sure to take notes — assuming it’s safe and practical to do so — and report it immediately. After reporting it to your local police, you also can file a report with the SPLC, which tracks hate crimes across the country. The organization Muslim Advocates provides a state-by-state directory of FBI and attorney general contacts for reporting hate crimes, while the Human Rights Campaign (a prominent LGBTQ civil rights organization) offers a step-by-step guide for what to do if you’re the victim of a hate crime.

It’s important to keep in mind that hate speech is generally protected by the First Amendment, while not every act of bigotry is a “hate crime” in the technical sense. Regardless, reporting acts of bigotry can help the police and other authorities be more aware of what’s happening and potentially prevent the escalation of more serious acts.

5. Prepare in Advance
Hindsight is 20/20, but opportunities to nip a hateful act in the bud often come along when we least expect it. Lecia Brooks, Outreach Director for the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC), recommends preparing for these kinds of encounters in advance: “If a person has given careful consideration to how they’ll react,” she says, “they’re more likely to muster the courage to speak up. For example, someone who isn’t prepared may resort to a knee-jerk reaction (such as arguing with the attacker) that could escalate the situation instead of extinguishing it.

Brooks also suggests reviewing the SPLC publication “Speak Up: Responding to Everyday Bigotry” as well as their brand-new guide, “SPLC Campus Guide to Countering ‘Alt-Right.‘”

Steve Tanner worked as a journalist in the San Francisco Bay Area for more than 10 years, covering technology, business, and the culture of Silicon Valley, before pursuing a paralegal certification. He currently writes about the law for FindLaw.com and lives with his family in the Santa Cruz Mountains.

Copyright © 500 Pens. August 2017.

White Nationalists Target College Campuses And Students Fight Back

By Amy Crawford

In January, the night before alt-right figure Milo Yiannopoulos was scheduled to speak at the University of California, Berkeley, two members of the white supremacist group American Renaissance got in a fistfight with other young men after they were caught plastering trees and buildings around campus with posters that proclaimed, “Embrace white identity!”  

In February, a spoofed faculty email address sent hundreds of University of Michigan students messages that threatened black and Jewish people, using the phrase “Heil Trump.” The emails, which the FBI is investigating, followed the appearance of racist flyers around campus the previous fall.

In the months after the election, as a wave of hate speech and harassment swept the nation, the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) recorded more than 150 reports of white nationalist fliers and recruitment materials on college campuses. Intended to frighten minority students as well as to persuade whites to join their causes, these orchestrated campaigns reveal that white nationalists see colleges as an important battleground in their war on a diverse and tolerant United States.

“White nationalists really enjoy campus activism,” says SPLC analyst Keegan Hankes. “They’re often trying to put an intellectual veneer on things, so it makes sense to peddle that on a college campus where you’re dealing with people who may be just starting to form their ideas about the world.”

It wouldn’t be the first time that college students found themselves on the front lines in a fight over civil rights. During the 1960s, it was often students who rode buses through the Deep South for Freedom Rides, staged lunch counter sit-ins, marched against Jim Crow laws and integrated recalcitrant universities. And while today’s white supremacists believe young people are especially receptive to their ideology, many students are, instead, leading the resistance against hate as part of a new Southern Poverty Law Center program called SPLC on Campus.

“We were first inspired to create the program while witnessing a resurgence in student activism on college campuses a few years ago,” explains Lecia Brooks, SPLC’s Director of Outreach. “The Black Lives Matter movement, the effort to address sexual assault and the push by students from marginalized groups for safe and inclusive campuses — all this work sparked something that SPLC wanted to support.”

Since 2015, students on nearly 30 campuses in the South and across the country have started their own SPLC on Campus groups. Among them is P.J. Price, a senior at Clemson University in South Carolina, who founded a chapter on his campus in August 2016. With the presidential campaigns at full tilt, the new group spent the fall semester holding voter registration drives, co-sponsoring a political debate and building coalitions with other progressives on campus. But they discovered a new sense of urgency when white supremacist fliers began appearing around campus shortly before the election.

“Some people, when they think of the KKK and white supremacists, think of their history class, but this is something that is still thriving in many areas of our country, including near Clemson,” Price says. “That’s something that we’ve become increasingly cognizant of since the election.”

In the months since Inauguration Day, Price says, hundreds of Clemson students have turned out for events organized or co-organized by SPLC on Campus, including a demonstration against the so-called “Muslim Ban” in January and a rally for a student who had been unable to enter the United States because of it. While hate groups may be newly emboldened, Price and his classmates realized that those who support civil rights and equity are also newly determined to fight.

“People are rightfully indignant about things,” he says, “and they come to SPLC events to talk about them and express concern about them and say, ‘How can I get more involved?’”

At the University of Kentucky (UK), graduate student Leslie Davis was also looking for a way to get involved. After the election, she became alarmed by the nationwide rise in hate crimes and harassment — a trend reflected in a February SPLC report that found the number of hate groups in the United States was up for a second straight year in 2016. “I felt similarly to a lot of people in feeling really lost and wanting to do something drastic,” she says. “Once I was able to take a breath, I decided I should find something particular to my campus and try to make a difference through the community that I’m already a part of.”

Davis decided to create an SPLC on Campus chapter, which officially opened in March with about 30 members, after completing the university approval process. Davis hopes to partner with longstanding UK institutions like the Office of LGBTQ* Resources and the Martin Luther King Center, but she also sees her group as a nimbler, more independent organization that can react immediately to bias incidents and create counterprogramming to address hate and intolerance if it arises. “As a group that’s run by students, I feel like we can be a bit more aggressive in our messaging,” she says.

While many SPLC on Campus groups are contending with the post-election atmosphere, others have taken on more entrenched injustices.

“I’ve always been a big fan of SPLC,” says University of Alabama (UA) senior Joshua Hillman, who has served as president of his SPLC on Campus chapter for a year. This school year, the focus for Hillman and his SPLC Chapter was on building names — he says that at least a dozen buildings on campus are tributes to historical figures with ties to segregation, the Confederacy or racist ideology. For instance, Nott Hall, named for physician Josiah Nott.

“Nott was one of the most virulent polygenists of the1800s,” Hillman says. “He wrote an infamous work on the races being different species, yet you can’t find that information unless you’re looking for it. Just getting markers up by these buildings saying, this is what they were named for, this is what they were famous for and this is what we’re remembering them for — that’s really all we want.”

Hillman says he wanted to renew the conversation about how to address these names because addressing the past will have an impact on the future. He and other SPLC members figured starting a conversation among diverse groups could potentially lead to action down the road, so they brought together student groups and faculty members.

“We really wanted to focus on bringing in students from communities that don’t normally talk about race,” Hillman says.

Despite growing enthusiasm for changing building names, progress has been slow. Hillman and fellow students are now seeking to put up markers that they say will at least make students and campus visitors aware of the back stories to these building names.

The work may be frustrating at times, but it is in keeping with SPLC’s mission to — as Lecia Brooks puts it — “encourage and support student activism in the tradition of the non-violent civil rights movement.” The hard work of that era carries a lesson for today’s activists: that creating lasting change is never immediate, and fighting injustice seldom easy.

“Over the last few years, students have changed some systems on some campuses,” Brooks says. “It will be more difficult now. Battling white nationalism both helps and hurts the cause. But I’m ever hopeful.”

kate-barsotti-pen-bw257Amy Crawford is a freelance writer living in Michigan. Follow her on Twitter: @amymcrawfCover image courtesy of SPLC on Campus at Clemson University.

Editor’s Note: This article was produced in partnership with the SPLC.  

Copyright © 500 Pens. May 2017.